File Liens Online
Notice Filing
Download Forms
Company Info
Contact Us



Frequently Asked Questions
When should I file a lien on the job?

We recommend that 60 days is more than ample time for you to get paid. Most contractors get a regular draw for percentage of completion. The question that you have to ask is why didn’t they pay you when they got paid for the work that you did? The longer that you wait, the less likely that you will get paid and the more likely that other

subs will file their lien ahead of you. One example is a client that waited until the last week to demand their money; the contractor gave them a check that bounced. By the time that the check was returned as “account closed”, the 90 days had expired to file the lien.

What does the filing fee cover?

The filing fee covers the basic research for the property. Basic research includes having the correct information such as the parties that you contracted with including addresses, correct county, physical address of property, etc. We prepare the lien. We mail the notices out and send you a copy.

Do you mail notices to the parties that the lien was filed against?

The property owner is mailed a notice by Certified Mail and the Contractor, if different from the property owner is notified by First Class Mail.

Can I release the lien from the copy that I have?

The original lien is needed with the Deed Book and Page number to completely cancel the lien. If the original lien is lost or has not been returned by the court, we can do a special cancellation that still requires the original recording reference. The billing copy that you receive probably will not have this information.

The Contractor wants us to release the lien before we can get paid.

This is probably the worst thing that you can do. What happens if you release the lien and they fail to pay? Your 90 days to file have most likely passed and you cannot re-file. We recommend getting the original lien and exchanging the lien for certified funds. Do not sign the cancellation at the bottom until you have the check in hand.

How soon do I have to release the lien after I have been paid?

If you have accepted a company or personal check, a good rule of thumb is to deposit the check as soon as possible and allow 5 business days on a local check and 10 days on an out of state check to be sure that the check clears.

How quickly can I get the original lien?

Just give us a call and we will gladly mail it to you. If you are in a big hurry, you can pick it up, send a courier, or give us your Fed-Ex number. This is contingent on our having received the original lien from the court. Each court has a different turnaround time on documents, Some courts will give you the original at the time of filing while other courts may take 90 days to return their documents.

Can I have the lien sent directly to me from the Court?

Yes. Please let us know before we file the lien so that you will be listed as the return address for the court.

By what date should I file my lien?

A lien must be filed within 90 days of substantially completing the work. 

Can punchlist work be used as the last date worked?

You can use a punchlist date as the last date of work for filing the lien. However, you need to be aware that you may need to substantiate this date by a witness or signed service ticket to prove that you were indeed there on the date given.


Retainage can be included in the lien amount provided that you have substantially completed the work. In cases where problems developed when the job was only 50% complete, you should only include the same percentage for the retainage. A lien still has to be filed within three months of completing the work, so don’t let your time expire on retainage.

Lien Waivers: Can I still file a lien?

You need to read every document carefully before signing it. If you executed a full and final lien waiver, you cannot file a lien. An interim lien waiver allows you to file a lien for any work that was provided after the date of the execution of that document. We recommend using a conditional waiver that is dependent upon payment and the check clearing the bank.

Why do I need the original lien to cancel it?

The Court will cross reference cancellations back to the original document to make it clear that it has indeed been satisfied. They will make this notation in the indexes and will physically mark the original that it was satisfied in the deed book. If the original document or subsequent cancellation does not have this notation, they cannot properly cancel the original.

I could not find the cancellation of record.

This can happen when inexperienced people try to look up documents at the courthouse. The document is recorded but they do not know what to look for.

What does Lien Filers do when we get a call about one of your liens?

We get a lot of calls from the contractors and property owners. In each case we will encourage them to call you directly to work out payment arrangements.

Will you let us know if you have other liens against the same contractor?

Yes. We will encourage you to contact the other client(s) because they are usually involved in a different trade and not a competitor of yours. The weekly fax report is the best way to keep posted on lien activity.

Can I charge for filing fees and interest?

No, please do not include lien fees as this will invalidate the lien under Georgia Law.

Payoff Letters: what are they and how do they work?

Payoff letters are prepared and faxed to closing attorneys for any property that we have filed liens on your behalf. The letter includes the lien amount, cancellation fee and interest at 7% per annum. The payoff is figured through the closing date and a daily interest factor is included for each additional day past the original closing date. The letter is faxed to the attorney with instructions to escrow the money and forward the payoff to Lien Filers. Upon receipt of the check we will cancel the lien and forward the original check from the attorney to you along with an invoice for the cancellation and the payoff letter. You receive a better return on your money by allowing us to do the payoff letter because our computer figures all of the fees automatically. Payoff letters are $110.00.

Can we lien a federal, state, county or city owned property?

No. You cannot file a lien against this type of project. The rules are governed by the Miller Act or Little Miller Act. Government entities are required to have a performance bond to protect contractors that provide labor or materials. The claim process is a completely different procedure.

How long is a lien in force?

A claim of lien is good for 1 year from the date the lien was filed. A claim of lien is basically a claim and not a perfected security interest (such as a Deed to Secure Debt). Liens cannot be renewed unless you have been back out to substantially complete more work (the job was liened when you did the 1st phase or “rough”, then you completed the “final” phase and need to file another lien). A suit is required to perfect your claim of lien and must be filed within one year from the date the lien was filed.

We filed a lien two months ago and nothing has happened. What should I do?

This can be the result of a number of factors such as, you may have been an early supplier in the project, and the house may still be for sale, the homeowner is not selling the house, the permanent financing may be delayed, or work may have stopped on the project.

Does a Lien guarantee that we will get paid?

Filing a lien can be an effective collection tool but does not guarantee that you will be paid. A properly and timely filed lien will help in having the lien discovered in a title exam and your being paid through the closing attorneys. Many times the filing of the lien gets the owners attention and they will pay the lien shortly after it is filed. Other factors can delay payment for an extended time such as lack of sales in that subdivision, bankruptcy, foreclosure or a bond is filed on the job. These problems can be difficult to work through and will have a large impact on your getting paid. Sometimes the contractor just wants to wait you out past the 1 year from filing the lien

The property is being foreclosed next month, what can I do?

A foreclosure generally wipes out any prior encumbrances on the property, Occasionally, the property may bring more than what is owed. When this happens the liens or other claims are paid in chronological order the they are filed until the money runs out. The best that you can do is to file early so that you will be higher on the list.


* The information provided is intended for informational use and is based on frequently asked questions by customers. It is not intended to be used for legal purposes and/or legal advice.



Lien Filers, Etc.
of Heath W. Williams, LLC.

Contact us today at 770.926.2790 or

Liens | Notice Filing | FAQ | Company Info | Contact Us | Home